The Main Difference Between European and American Chocolate

Anyone who's ever tried European AND American chocolate knows with 100% certainty that they're very different in taste.

Most Europeans will say that American chocolate tastes cheap, overly sweet or just funky, while most Americans will say that it's strange how the European chocolate melts between their fingers and how it has a rich taste - which seems strange to them.

Now, of course, no one can say which one is better > because both parties have different tastes hence it's not an exact science when you ask a taster...but - when you ask the manufacturers the differences are pretty clear, and only one chocolate is the winner.

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American chocolate:

- powder milk

- larger sugar content

- has a lesser cocoa content - 10% (which is what makes the chocolate automatically cheaper to produce and gives it a worse, more sugary, less chocolatey taste)

- get their cocoa beans from South America

- lighter and sweeter

- due to the low cocoa butter content - more artificial emulsifiers are needed

- is made so it has a longer shelf life

European chocolate

- actual milk (which, in some cases, is powdered freshly in the chocolate production)

- larger fat and cocoa content

- cocoa content must be at least 25% (which is what makes the chocolate automatically more expensive to produce - and gives it a better taste)

- get their cocoa beans from West Africa

- darker and richer

- due to the high cocoa butter content - less or none of the artificial emulsifiers are needed

- it doesn't have as long of a shelf life because of less artificial ingredients

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*An interesting additional fact:

Hershey's cocolate found out they could use less than fresh milk (or even less than fresh powdered milk) so they made their own questionable 'milk' [milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid] that they use in all of their chocolates - tasting vaguely (or strongly) of vomit.

Aaaaaand the winner is: European chocolate - because it has more valuable set of ingredients and is overall better. Scientifically proven.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think you're focusing too much on costs as an answer rather than just cultural differences. In the US, milk chocolate seems to suit the American palate as it's much, much sweeter and contains comparatively very little actual chocolate, which is of course bitter. Out in Europe, most of the chocolate out there is much darker (40%+), which makes bars that have an almost coffee flavor profile. While there are a few EU countries that dig the milk chocolate (like Finland, the UK), the fact that you even mentioned milk is questionable because most chocolate purists in Europe feel that milk doesn't belong anywhere near a bar of chocolate. I'm inclined to agree with them -- a chocolate bar should have chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, the tiniest amount of salt and maybe some vanilla to cut the bitter edge -- but that's it.

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    • *well yeah, obviously, because that's what they've grown up with and what they're used to.
      What I was exemplifying and rating is the literal quality.

Most Helpful Girl

  • I didn't know there was a difference between North-American and European chocolate. People here are implying that European people only eat dark chocolate, but that is not true. Here in the Netherlands milk chocolate is more popular I think.
    I thought you also had some European chocolate brands in America like Milka or so (although Milka is not great chocolate) or Côte d'Or chocolate. You don't have those brands?

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What Guys Said 12

  • I don't like European Chocolate very much because I have a really hard time with bitter foods.
    I can't even drink coffee

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  • Well... First of all, thanks for writing about chocolates. But there is much more about chocolates.

    Taken for example the source of the beans. The largest supplier of cacao in West Africa is Cote d'Ivoire. Forgot how much they contribute but it's pretty much big in terms of world scale. But the bean they produce is what we call Forastero or bulk chocolate. They fruit in volume but has less flavors. Bean is dark and bitter. (About 95% of the world's chocolate is forastero)

    Southern America is home to the Cacao and they have the best varieties there. Selected areas produce some really fine cacao that we call "criollo". Pure Criollo is light and creamy. So creamy that milk can be omitted but still not too bitter. There's the Peruvian White Cacao and Ecuador's Nacional amongst the few prized beans.

    While teroir (location) is a factor which cacao beans from is the best, breed is also a another factor.

    You are correct that cocoa butter is also key in producing a good tasting chocolates. The same brand like Hershey's can produce two kinds of chocolates. The key is looking at the ingredient list. One is using cacao butter, the other one is vegetable butter. You can also see it at first glance when you see that chocolate.

    The one that uses less butter is dull. While the other that uses true cacao butter has more shine. You can quickly tell which one is cheating. More expensive is the cocoa butter.

    There is also the singe origin. Most of manufacturers import cacao from this area, and that area. They combine cheaper nonfermented cacao beans and the more expensive fermented cacao beans to make up for their recipe. And of course, pure fermented beans will yield more flavors.

    So there's no telling which region produces better. The secret is the passion itself of the chocolate maker.

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  • oh I really want chocolate now.. that last pic, yum.

    Apparently Hershey's has a different recipe for chocolate they sell in Canada, something to do with Canadians being "Label readers" and wanting more natural ingredients and less additives.

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  • I love European chocolate. That's one thing I give Europe. That and the natural brewing act in Germany, they make awesome Hefeweizen beers. We have some good craft beers here, but major brands like budweiser, Nati Ice, etc are all garbage. Just watered down alcoholic drinks, no flavor to them.

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  • Finally an informative take that one can read through in it's entirety. Well done.

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  • I don't have so sensitive taste buds to mark the differencebetween 2 types of chocolate,..
    I have a tongue addicted to Smokey spicy goopy Indian food

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  • I've had chocolates from more then a few European places and that all seems right to me
    With European chocolate you really get the buttery consistency and deep flavor as opposed to just sweet

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  • Qyite a research

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  • EU Chocolate tastes better I had a EU Kit Kat, and an American Kit Kat. EU tasted better.

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  • Is this just filler for extra points? Because you didn't even go over regional differences, or pairing or tasting tips, or recommended brands or places to get chocolate... Everyone knows Europe has better chocolate. Perhaps go a bit more in-depth next time, and talk about some of the smaller chocolate producers in the US like Ghirardelli, or even some mass market European ones like Milka in a subsequent take. Talk about specific differences in flavors - frothiness, coffee, hazelnut, butter, oakyness - These would be helpful tasting tips and vocabulary for people looking to learn.

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    • I'm not a taster of any kind - maybe if you sent me the money to travel... I could do that. Up for it? if not then make one yourself. =)

  • wait, americans make chocolate? I thought it was molten clay. tastes like crap.

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  • OMG who fucking cares

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What Girls Said 6

  • americans seem afraid of fat
    that said, there are smaller niche brands of American chocolate that aren't too bad

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  • I really hate dark chocolate, it's really bitter and gross. Milk chocolate however is fantastic. I can only recall one occasion where I had real European chocolate and it was dark chocolate.. >.< I'd imagine European milk chocolate is divine.

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    • Milk chocolate is much, much sweeter because there's less actual chocolate in it. Most of the chocolate in the US is milk chocolate because that suits the American palate, but most of the chocolate in Europe is dark chocolate, which is of course bitter with almost a coffee profile. I prefer the dark chocolate, which I kind of think might be due to my age (as I get older, I don't like the super sweet stuff). There are some European countries that do a lot of milk chocolate though (the UK and Finland come to mind), but I feel that milk chocolate can never be divine because it's barely chocolate at all.

    • @jp612612 I just prefer milk is all. :)

  • i prefer more cacao in it

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  • Mexican artisanal chocolate is the best. :P

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  • CADBURY FTW!!!

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  • I prefer European chocolate and sticking to it

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